THE mum of a young Kirkby man, who played a key role in the opening and closing ceremonies of last year’s Olympics and Paralympic Games, has paid tribute to him after he died suddenly at the age of just 20.
Luke Morton, who had moved to London to pursue a career in West End theatre, collapsed on 15th February and he died in hospital a few days later.
Speaking from her home on Clumber Street, his mum Suzanne Morton described
the pride she felt when she went down to London for the dress rehearsal of the spectacular ceremony.
She said: “It was beyond belief. I was so excited for him. He hadn’t said a word about it to any of us. It meant so much for him.
“It was out of this world - absolutely electric.”
Luke worked on the Voldemort puppet at the Olympic opening ceremony and looked after the LED umbrellas and illuminated red tents at the Paralympics.
He also worked on the pyrotechnics for the ‘Sun God’ and helped to create the ‘fish trucks’ at the Paralympics.
Like many of the London 2012 volunteers, Luke formed close friendships with the people he worked with and after hearing about his death, his friends decided to turn a reunion event on Easter Sunday into a memorial for him.
Suzanne, who went down for the occasion, said: “We didn’t know these people but it was so nice to share stories.”
Luke was passionate about the arts and as a pupil at Kirkby’s Ashfield School, he was a member of its acclaimed choir.
He was also the first person at his school to win the prestigious gold Arts Award, which is issued by the Arts Council.
Suzanne said: “He started his love of the arts at eight years old. He went to the Hucknall Operatic Society and he played the Artful Dodger in Oliver!
“At the age of 11, they were short back stage so they asked if he would go and help and that was it - it was like someone had switched a light on.”
As well as the Hucknall Operatic Society, Luke also worked with the Mansfield Operatic Society and the Harlequin Theatre Company.
“He did everything from stage management to lighting,” said Suzanne.
“In fact, one year he did the lighting, stage managing, back stage work and he acted in it.”
Although Luke was ambitious, he was also keen to make sure the arts were accessible to other young people and as a result, he set up a dance and drama club at Kirkby’s Hill Methodist Church with a friend.
When he was 18, Luke went to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and along his studies, he also found time to help other students to settle into college life.
After the excitement of London 2012, Luke returned to the world of theatre and worked as assistant stage manager on Mansfield Palace Theatre’s last panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
He even turned down a dream job working on the Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End so that he could honour his commitment to the Palace.
In a fitting tribute to Luke, Suzanne is now planning to raise enough money to help another young person realise their ambitions by paying for them to attend Mountview.
The event organised by his friends in London has already raised £550 and Suzanne is set to organise a show at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre on 26th June which will bring together the many groups Luke worked with, including Ashfield School Choir.
It will also feature a video montage of Luke which Suzanne hopes will make people smile and help them to remember him for the happy person he was.
She said: “Luke never managed his dream of getting to the West End so we felt that supporting another student to achieve their dream would, in an abstract way, help Luke achieve his.”
As well as his mum, Luke also leaves behind his dad Ian and brother Nathan (17). He was also very close to his three-year-old Goddaughter Katelyn.